Seven years ago I decided to start Makeup Savvy to share my love of makeup and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made!
Which is why I thought it as about time I sit down and write about how to write a successful beauty blog. Or should that be "How to write/start a successful beauty blog in 2017"? Because there's no denying the idea of blogging with any kind of success is daunting right now (I'm currently in the process of setting up a new blog... and I'm feeling it!). Especially in the saturated genre of beauty blogging. However, that shouldn't hold you back if you feel passionate about it!
Below, I have covered the basics; from the initial set up a blog (which platform to choose, buying a domain, deciding on a template) to the do's and don't of blogging and what your long term focuses should be if you plan to write a successful beauty blog. Whether you are new to beauty blogging or already write an established blog I hope you can find a few helpful tips here.
How to Start a Blog: 4-Step Quick Guide1. Platform and Domain
Your first port of call when setting up a blog is to decide which platform you want to blog from. The main ones being; Blogger (free), Wordpress (free options), Squarespace (monthly fee). This all depends on how internet savvy you are! You will also want to carefully decide on a blog name* and buy a custom domain name (normally £5-10 for a year) from a domain website such as Go Daddy (who I've used for 5 years!). This will make your blog look professional and will give you better search rankings with Google in the long term.
Blogger: Ideal for total beginners - Free
Squarespace: Professional template, easy to use - Monthly fee.
Wordpress: Good for intermediate to advanced bloggers wanting more design freedom & plugin options - Free but with paid monthly host options.
*I could write an entire blog post about deciding on a blog name as it's that important! Many bloggers regret what they name their blogs within the first few years of blogging. My main tips here would be to keep it relevant to your niche and timeless.
2. Extra Setup
After setting up your domain you will want to secure your handle across social platforms, whether you intend to use them or not, not forgetting a matching email address. Main social platforms include; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest. Aim for continuity here with the same handle over all platforms if possible so that your readers will be able to find you easily.
3. Template & Branding
Depending on the platform you decide to go for you may want to spend some money on a pre-made blog template that will make your blog instantly seem more professional. I personally took the DIY route for years and it wasn't until I spent £30 on a template that my blog starting to look and feel more professional - it really was one of my best expenses to date! For Wordpress & Blogger users I highly recommend pipdig blog templaters. However, Etsy have a wide range of blog templates available from only £5.00. When deciding on a template you will be looking at the overall aesthetics but it's important to think about the layout you want for your blog. From past experience, a sidebar is vital as it can include vital information you want readers to see and further down the line possibly ads from Google Adsense, affiliate programs or ad networks. I'd also suggest resisting the urge to opt for a popular image slider option as your images will need to be large and of a high quality to look good within the slider.
You will also want create or pay for a header/logo to be created, thinking about what colour scheme you want for your blog. This can always be changed later down the line but it's important to aim for a professional looking header and something you feel proud of.
4. Modify your Blog
After tweaking your layout/template and making your blog your own it's important to not forget the behind the scenes modification you will need to do. Setting your free RSS feed via your blog platform is a must so that readers can view your posts via Bloglovin, Feedly, etc and by email. Also setting up a free Google Analytics accounts to track your stats shouldn't be overlooked, even in the beginning.
You may find my extensive list of blog resources useful when getting started!
10 Tips on How To
Write a Successful Beauty Blog
1. Good Photography
Although a blog is essentially about the written content, a successful blog generally isn't without good imagery, especially within beauty blogging. If you are on a budget I would surprisingly recommend a phone camera over a substandard point and shoot camera. However, if you want to invest and improve your photography I would recommend most recent DSLR models of Nikon and Canon cameras with the included kit lens to start with. I use a later model of the Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Camera and cannot fault it, so much so that I still use the standard kit lens.
You may find the below blog posts helpful, but my key tips would be to use a tripod and brighten and sharpen all images with a photo editing program such as Photoscape (ideal for beginners) or Photoshop (advanced).
Related content: How to Become your own Professional Photography Stylist, 5 Tips to Improve your Blog Photography, 20 Unique Blog Props you will want to use
2. Find a Niche
Although finding a niche within your chosen niche isn't essential it can make your blog stand out and appeal to a specific set of readers in a saturated blog genre. This may be to focus predominately on budget or high-end makeup, a purely organic or cruelty-free beauty blog or even just a loose theme, such as trying out makeup trends, dupes or featuring only pretty makeup items.
3. Write Quality Content
Writing quality content is key to a creating a successful blog. Not only do you want to write more than 300 words per post, 1000-2500 words for detailed posts, but you want to provide quality information. This is what will set you apart from a lot of other bloggers and help you build a loyal readership. Writing quality blog posts from day one will also help you rank better in Google and increase your chances of receiving backlinks from other bloggers and websites.
Related content: How to Write Killer Blog Content
Although boring, SEO is a key part to successful blogging and it's something I wish I'd chosen to learn sooner. From setting up your blog for SEO to on-page SEO it's important to learn the basics so that your blog posts appear higher in Google. You can find many useful blogs on SEO but I would stick to up to date information tha it's in line with Google updates and algorithms.
Without passion, blogging can quickly become hard work. Blogging really does involve so many tasks, so feeling passionate about your blog and the blog posts you create is important. Passion should come from enjoying certain aspects of blogging, such as the writing or photography. But it can also be found in feeling passionate about makeup/skincare and being part of a community of like-minded bloggers. Feeling passionately about what you do will also keep you consistently blogging, whether that's daily or weekly, keeping blog posts ideas flowing and writer's block at bay!
6. Educate Yourself
With passion should hopefully come the urge to learn more about blogging as there's a lot to take in. 7 years writing Makeup Savvy and a total of 9 years blogging I'm still learning new tips and tricks on a daily basis... I really believe you never stop learning as blogging evolves and new features become available. I have quite a few blogging tips posts you may find helpful but bloggers such as XO Misse and Melyssa Griffin are also worth a read. Educating yourself on all blogging topics really does go a long way!
7. Be Authentic and Trustworthy
I cannot stress how important being trustworthy is! It means a lot in the blogging community and without it you really do sacrifice ever growing your blog. This means transparency when displaying adverts and writing sponsored content, even across social platforms and never buying fake followers or engagements or displaying/giving inflated blog statistics. Being authentic in your writing style and how to portray yourself online will also gain you more loyal readers than if you copy how other bloggers come across/write.
8. Engage with readers and fellow bloggers
Blogging is a pretty social hobby/career both on your blog and via social media.. even through email! This means engaging with your readers is a must. Social media can be overwhelming to keep up with so I'd highly recommend sticking with two platforms, for me that's Twitter and Instagram but you may find that other social platforms work better for you or just simply prefer to use. Getting involved with blogger chats via Twitter can also help you connect with fellow bloggers, this can make blogging even more enjoyable and bloggers may even support your blog posts from time to time! Commenting on blogs that you enjoy reading in your niche can also help make you make new friends and involve you in the blogging community more, however, it's important comments are genuine and not with the sole intention of leaving a link to your own blog.
9. Track your Stats (just not daily!)
If you want to grow your blog then keeping a track of your Google Analytic stats is important. It's easy to get hung up on numbers, however aiming for a steady monthly increase in growth by checking your stats monthly is a balanced way to approach it. It's also important not to get hung up on growing your social media platforms. This takes time and low follower numbers doesn't mean your blog can't be a success. In fact, I know of quite a few bloggers that don't appear to be popular on social platforms but have very high monthly page views to their blog.
10. Set Achievable Micro Goals
If you are wanting to create a successful blog, whatever that personally means to you, then setting achievable goals to work towards is key. Without this it's easy to see a lack of growth all round and you are less likely to achieve what other successful blogs have in a similar time frame. However unrealistic goals can be disenchanting when you don't achieve them, so I would highly recommend approaching goal setting realistically and do it on a micro level... maybe setting small goals you would like to achieve every 3-66-12 months and with a plan on how to reach each goal you set your blog. Over time you may be able to set large goals for yourself but in the first few years it's important to achieve your goals and be motivated by them.
Whether you are considering starting your own beauty blog or you already have one I hope this blog post has been a bit of a guide on how to become a successful beauty blogger.
Blogging doesn't come without hard work and dedication but it can be such a rewarding hobby/career!